Landmarks and public locations
Marketers may feature general public locations without permission so long as they do not denigrate the building or area in question. Frequently used examples include the Houses of Parliament, the Millennium Stadium, Edinburgh Castle and Stormont Castle.
Pictures that are available from picture libraries may be featured in ads so long as they do not denigrate the owners of the property or the business that is conducted there (for example, the peace process talks that took place at Stormont Castle).
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office has indicated that featuring royal properties in marketing communications is acceptable only in exceptional circumstances. Marketers should check with the Lord Chamberlain’s Office (www.royal.gov.uk). For more information see “Royal Family”.
Recognisable property of members of the public
When it comes to the recognisable property of members of the public, marketers should take care not to feature them without permission.
An ad for construction firm which featured images of the complainant’s home along with their address without their permission was found to breach the Code (Hansen & Co (UK) Ltd, 16 April 2014). This is in line with previous ASA rulings against showing people’s homes without permission (Quentin Marks, 26 May 2004; Basildon District Council, 9 June 1999).
ASA decisions suggest that using photographs that feature several properties or streets may be acceptable (PoolerWatson.com, 21 July 2004).
Permission may not be necessary if the property is not readily recognisable. The ASA rejected a complaint about the use of privately owned land to advertise an off-road vehicle. Because the image had been doctored (for example, to remove farm buildings) and because only a small amount of land was shown, the ASA concluded that the owner’s right to privacy had not been infringed (Colt Car Company, 23 April 2008).
In 2011, the ASA investigated the use of a photograph of a horsebox, the number plate of which was legible, on a website. The ASA considered that it would be possible to identify the horsebox as belonging to the complainant and that written permission to use the horsebox on the website should have been obtained. The failure to supply evidence that permission had been obtained led to a breach of Rule 6.1 (Equi-Sport Horseboxes, 7 September 2011).
Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA. CAP’s Advice Online entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.
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